Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
Social icons by Tim van Damme

24

Apr

The Real World Impact of Climate Change

The 45th annual Earth Day celebrations culminated with events that drew hundreds and thousands of attendees who learned to be better stewards of the planet, committed to living sustainably, and took action to reduce our impact on the environment.

The innovative docuseries, “Years of Living Dangerously”, is lending support to building awareness about the impact of humans on the environment through a 9-part documentary of one-hour segments. In each episode, the focus is on the specific issues surrounding climate change through the people being affected as they seek solutions and try to understand the new realities.  

Years of Living Dangerously, Episode 1:

The team of science advisors for the series includes Joe Romm, Heidi Cullen and James Hansen among other leading climatologists. With each episode, the collaboration seeks to de-polarize the debate by using a new approach that seeks to open up communication and humanize the climate change situation through relatable real-world issues. The series seeks to expose audiences to the real-world impacts of climate change to provide them with the framework to ask their leaders, educators and government, “What can we do about this issue?”

See also:

Making Reuse Convenient

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

Just TRADE It!

Pin It

24

Mar

Just TRADE It!

image

  Tradepal’s Inaugural Earth Day Student Reuse Campaign for 2014

Across the United States, colleges and universities are gearing up this Earth Day to participate in the inaugural Just TRADE It! student reuse campaign. The 4-week campus campaign empowers students to reduce their carbon impact while helping the planet through campus-wide reuse. This unique reuse competition engages members of the campus community to join-in a fun event and to raise their awareness for the value of the many items they already own but no longer need, by providing a seamless way to “Just TRADE It!”.  

Keep the money in your pocket and simply list your unused items and watch as offers to swap, barter, and buy your surplus stuff arrive. By the end of the 4-week campaign, you will be surprised by how big of an impact your campus network made from reuse via the Carbon Savings Score … and the financial savings. Just TRADE It! begins on April 4th and ends on May 5th, 2014, so join today!

Why Student REUSE?

Tradepal recognized the tons of surplus items on campuses as students move in/out each semester in combination with the financial burden of education as students purchase books, pay tuition and monthly expenses. Tradepal began offering its’ reuse network technology to 100 campuses while waiving the cost as part of a commitment to action with CGI America.  

How it Works?

Simply join Tradepal and your campus network and start listing your items. It only takes 30-seconds to list an item, just type the name and brand in the ‘description’ and our technology will recognize it and offer item suggestions and the picture. Just gather up all the unused stuff that is sitting around such as updated electronics, sports equipment, textbooks, excess household items and accessories. List them on your Tradepal campus network and trade them for items you do need.

Campuses participating in Tradepal’s inaugural Just TRADE It! campaign includes members of student government, student affairs, residence halls, green groups, sustainability officers, faculty and staff. With 18 million students in college, and hundreds of thousands moving annually, it leaves a lot of items that can be traded, given away or sold while saving resources. As many campuses hold annual events where local non-profits collect unwanted items, all items not transacted can be donated. The Just TRADE It! campaign is launching on April 4, 2014 so request your network today.  

The Tradepal community managers are here to answer questions, share ideas for promoting your network on campus and update participants with the weekly leaderboard to know your campuses most current standing during the 4-week Just TRADE It! campaign.

To request more information or to find out if your campus is participating in Just TRADE It! send us an email at info@tradepal.com. To learn how easy it is to launch your network, register for on of our upcoming webinars or submit a network request, here.

Happy Trading!

See also:

Making Reuse Convenient

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

Tradepal Announces New Clinton Global Initiative to Make Reuse Convenient for College Students

Pin It

11

Feb

Redefining Sustainability Challenges: Designing Behavior Change Products

Pin It

01

Feb

Super Bowl XLVIII: 5 Steps for Making Sustainability Cross to the Mainstream

Over the past weeks, the nation has been in a deep freeze and speculation has surrounded whether or not the Super Bowl XLVIII would be upstaged by the polar vortex. According to the National Weather Service, the game is now expecting a high of 29 degrees in the evening with zero chance of precipitation. With Super Bowl Sunday coinciding for the first time with Groundhog Day, climate is no longer a ‘tree hugger’ topic as weather conditions continue to force it into the mainstream.

For years, the NFL Environmental Program and the host cities community partners like the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee have been hosting community events as part of a larger environmental movement around green games, green stadiums and the wiser use of resources. Events connect people and communities, and through this bond neighborhoods build awareness for boosting their sustainability efforts. These events included the Super Community Coat Drive, e-waste recycling in Times Square, 61 sustainability measures at MetLife Stadium and stewardship projects that added 27,000 trees and shrubs to the city.

image

Credit: Green Restaurant Association

Engaging the local community is a great step for creating a ‘new normal’ where citizens become part of the solution in building toward a sustainable future. If you are thinking of incorporating green behaviors in your community or organization, here is a simple guide to making it a success:

Step 1: Make a Commitment and be a Game Changer.

Just like publicizing your New Year’s resolutions, making a commitment public is a great way to stick to your plan. As colleges and national sports organizations continue to compete to be the greenest and establish green teams to implement sustainability policies, these steps become real when the campus or community is aware and participating.

Step 2: Do a Needs Assessment.

Prior to taking steps for change, it is wise to assess what is needed and to determine a baseline or benchmark to identify opportunities for improvement and savings. A good example is the amount of electricity consumed by an NFL football stadium and the potential to offset this by adding LED light fixtures and 1,350 solar PV panels.

image

 MetLife Stadium, Credit: NRG, Energy Inc.

Step 3: Set Goals.

In an effort to bring awareness to reuse in communities, Tradepal, set a dual goal, this year, to implement its technology in 100 campuses nationwide and save 20,000 metric tons of carbon by June 2014. This is part of a larger effort focusing on our carbon footprints by quantifying the impact of reuse and offering communities a cost-effective carbon reduction initiative.  

image

Step 4: Create an Action Plan.

Once the goals are established, clearly define the steps and establish the respective roles of members. Preparing best practices will help boost everyone’s efforts. Once everyone is onboard, the plan is communicated and goals are set, it is time to incentivize and encourage others to be part of the solution. A tracking system with metrics is beneficial to track and monitor progress.

Step 5: Evaluate Progress and Recognize Achievements.

Measuring the results and reviewing the action plan will help to evaluate whether any adjustments are needed in order to reach the goal. This may include adding more partners to keep the momentum up. Creating awareness for excellence by  publicizing the achievements of partners and recognizing the efforts of individuals is also important.

Collectively the many organizations, partners and teams have taken effective steps toward reducing their carbon emissions and that of the host cities and area communities this Super Bowl. Through community events and lessons from the sports industry, neighborhoods can experience first-hand the benefits of building a cultural shift toward environmental awareness.

No matter which team wins Super Bowl XLVIII, both the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks have made great strides in raising the bar on sustainability.

See Also: 

Food Labeling: Confuse and Conquer

To Change the World, Start by Making Your Bed

Sustainability vs. Storage Wars Epidem

Pin It

11

Jan

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

image

by Tamar Burton

When I reflect on the past year of traveling through communities dotted with farms and cities sprawling with shops and attractions, I am reminded of the impact we have on our planet. The weekly accumulation of recycling for the weekly pick up always catches my attention as I view all the waste on the curb. While I find some relief knowing communities are recycling, so many opportunities to do more to reuse and reduce are ignored.  

In the new year, I vow to continue to find ways to reduce my carbon footprint and share these experiences with others. If we take a minute to make small changes, we could have a big impact on a daily basis. Simple changes to our daily routines, such as replacing plastic bags and styrofoam cups with a personal carry all or refillable bottle, have a huge impact. Another easy target is the stockpile of unused items hidden away in our garages or self-storage facilities. The new year offers the perfect opportunity to take an active stance to make a change. By simply compiling the unused or outgrown items in our closets down to a pile of items to reuse via swap and giveaway provides both financial and emotional rewards. I vividly remember friends and family members who happily received items and the sense of satisfaction that followed from removing clutter while offering a great gift. 

What if you could quantify the environmental impact from the pile of items? The diagram below is the carbon savings derived from selling my bedroom set, my couch, various furnishings and giving away clothing, electronics and household items on Tradepal. With each listing, I am shown the carbon savings derived from each item by choosing to promote reuse — and not landfills. The CO2 calculator helps users to quantify their CO2 footprint savings directly with every barter, giveaway, buy or sell on Tradepal. And with each transaction, the individual carbon savings score quickly accumulates into an even bigger number with a greater impact by promoting reuse.

According to the EPA, my overall carbon savings is the equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 2.8 acres of a forest in one year, or the carbon emissions from consuming 387 gallons of gasoline. An individual impact of 3.5 metric tons is really powerful, but think of the combined impact of a residence hall, a campus or a college town that fully adopts reuse. 

image

Source: EPA 

See also:

Just TRADE It!

Super Bowl XLVIII: 5 Steps for Making Sustainability Cross to the Mainstream

To Change the World Start by Making Your Bed

Pin It

29

Dec

Happy New Year 2014 

In the coming year -

“May the road rise up to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

And the rain fall soft upon your fields …”


Irish Blessings

image 

Zhu Jinshi, Boat, 2012, Xuan paper, bamboo and cotton thread. Rubell Family Collection

Pin It

30

Nov

The Evolution of Black Friday

Pin It

05

Nov

Making Reuse Convenient

image

Incubating Consumer Behavior Change By Making Student Reuse On Campus Convenient 

by Tamar Burton

The lesson of The Three R’s - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle helped us shape our view of the environment. Building sustainable communities is an important challenge faced by millennials and requires innovation to enact consumer behavior change. America’s college students have embraced new solutions pertaining to reducing and recycling, but the area that hasn’t been addressed properly is reuse.

According to research by the NPD Group, the average U.S. household has over $7,000 worth of unused merchandise ranging from electronics and furniture; to textbooks and sporting goods. Overall, this excess merchandise accounts for $1 trillion worth of idle surplus. Think about reuse, everybody does it, right? Typically, the response given is: yes, I promote reuse on these websites. But, probe further and inquire when they last engaged reuse, and the response is a surprisingly dated: a year ago, two years ago, or I don’t recall. Clearly, reuse is not an adopted behavior although subconsciously it is. 

Tradepal’s one-click technology seeks to remedy this by making reuse easy and convenient. The platform simplifies the reuse process to enable users to list items in seconds, broadcast their virtual sale to their campus and friends, and seamlessly buy, sell and barter with peers. It also gamifies reuse as students are able to quantify their environmental impact through a dedicated carbon savings calculator.

Tradepal has recognized the problem with stuff and set its mission to make reuse as easy as recycling. Several colleges and universities have embraced the initiative to offer a convenient way for students to promote reuse by launching a campus reuse network on Tradepal. Tradepal made a commitment to action with CGI America to deploy its reuse platform to 100 college campuses and derive 20,000 metric tons of carbon savings from reuse by June 2014. 

Millennials hold the key to a sustainable and resilient future. By integrating innovation on campus, higher education provides students with opportunities to experiment and determine the best methods for introducing sustainable solutions. These experiences will prove pivotal in scaling consumer behavior change beyond college campuses and into the mainstream.

See also:

The Forgotten R of the Environment

Sustainability vs Storage Wars Epidemic

Climate Policy: Transitioning Behavior Change

Pin It

23

Oct

Happy Campus Sustainability Day

Pin It

01

Oct

Transitioning from More to Better

Source: Story of Stuff Project

(Source: tradepal)

Pin It

26

Sep

The Invisible Cost of Carbon

"We are paying the price, the cost of carbon, but our economic system, our market system does not contain a price on carbon pollution. So it is effectively invisible in our economic calculations.  It is an externality." - Al Gore

Pin It

13

Sep

Millennials and the Student Debt Drag

image

A recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York  (FRBY) study suggests that millennials are retreating from big ticket purchases. After examining the trends, the study found that student debt reduces other types of borrowing such as mortgages and auto loans. After taking a closer look at the student debt numbers, it appears that the buying power of millennials has been significantly impaired. The majority of students are now graduating college with a negative net worth. This purchasing behavior shift could also be a symptom of the ongoing decline in disposable income growth.

The following statistics from FRBNY frame the issue students are facing:

  • student debt has increased from $260 billion in 2004 to $1.2 trillion in 2013

  • an estimated 37 million Americans have outstanding student loans

  • the average student debt upon graduation has increased from $9,000 in 2004 to $30,000 in 2013

Matt Taibbi’s article Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal, in the August 2013 edition of Rolling Stone magazine, sheds light on the hardships facing college graduates as education costs are spiraling out of control.  

It is worth noting that seven million of those 37 million borrowers are currently in default. The outstanding student debt now dwarfs both outstanding auto loans ($800 billion) and credit card debt ($700 billion). As student debt levels have quintupled over the last decade, it is fair to assume that it’s having a significant impact on the U.S. economy and the way millennials will consume in the future. The real question is whether this is a permanent or a temporary shift in consumer behavior?

See Also: 

Engaging Consumers to Create a Circular Economy

Climate Change: What is Real, Happening and Expected

Food Labeling: Confuse and Conquer

Pin It

27

Aug

Consumption and the Growing Importance of Shared Value

image

By Tamar Burton

Over the past decade, brands have made a shift to balance profitability goals with having a mindful purpose. A study by the University of Iowa found a direct correlation exists between brands with extensive corporate social responsibility and lower stock risk during down economic cycles. This brand loyalty is particularly found with brands that support environmental issues.

As millennials account for the over 95 million digitally connected Americans, they also possess a keen desire or ‘socially conscious’ to make a difference. Recently a growing number of studies have reported on the strong desire of millennials to embrace brands that support a cause they hold dear. Some studies have even labeled millennials the most aspirational generation.

A recent Nielsen survey found that 42% of 18- to 34-year-old millennials believe a response following a posting a complaint or comment regarding a brand should be received on social media within 12 hours. While millennials may not have the cash flow of older customers, brands have realized the possible consequences a negative comment could have on their brand image and sales and have taken greater steps to please millennials and to intercept their complaints prior to becoming viral.

This new shift in conscience capitalism is evident not only in what we purchase, but also how we cater to our customers. As is evident by the U.S. auto industry bailout in 2008 as GM, Chrysler and Ford were trying to avoid financial disaster. Feeling the effects of the financial collapse and burdened by gasoline prices hovering near $4 a gallon, consumers were ready for new solutions. Yet these industry giants lacked innovation and failed to listen to their customers as they continued on the path of business as usual.

During this time, Elon Musk, TESLA Motors CEO and Chairman, was on a mission to replace fossil fuels by changing the world by offering clean and renewable energy sources and reintroducing the electric vehicle. The EV1, sold during the late -1990’s to 2002 was not as fortunate as evidenced in the 2006 documentary, Who Killed the Electric Car?. When you contemplate the fact that more solar energy strikes the surface of the earth in a single hour than is provided by all the fossil energy consumed globally in a year, then the answer seems obvious. Now fast forward from the 1990’s and in a little over a decade, innovation may win this time around, and older brands may start offering the solutions that consumers are demanding rather than remaining on a path of resistance.

Public relations firm, Edelman conducted a global survey in 2012 and found that 72% of consumers responded they would recommend brands to others if they supported a good cause. Given this strong statistic, marketers should be keen to ignite corporations to evolve the various ways they envision, produce and market their products. The main selling point being, if they don’t, they will fall by the wayside.

See also:

The Real World Impact of Climate Change

Would You Like Bottled or Tap?

Sustainability vs. Storage Wars Epidemic

Pin It

23

Jul

The Global Knowledge Economy: An increasingly competitive landscape

image

By Tamar Burton

A new shift is occurring as universities around the world have set their sights on attracting students from abroad. In a quest to cultivate knowledge-based economies, governments around the world are making huge investments to improve the quality of their universities. The new bar is academic excellence. In the new global economy, to be considered well-educated, one must be exposed to ideas and people and transcend national boundaries. Human capital is being cultivated as global universities compete for the best and brightest. According to the NAFSA: Association of International Educations, it is estimated that international student enrollments contributed $21.81 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Global Educational Forecast by 2025:

50% - almost all of this rapid growth will occur in the developing countries, with more than 50% in India and China alone.

350,000 students - the combined capacity to attract international higher education to foreigners in this decade by traditional source countries, with Jordan and Malaysia each hoping to attract 100,000 each by 2020 and Singapore, hoping for 150,000 by the year 2015

8 million - the projected number of students to travel to other countries to study abroad by 2025 - almost 3 times today’s numbers.

262 million students - the projected number of students seeking global enrollment in higher education by 2025 

“Something big is happening…Making the most of human capital—a key to competitiveness and prosperity—is more and more the work of globalized universities competing for the best thinkers and the best ideas.”

- The Wall Street Journal, May 2010 

See Also:

Sustainability vs. Storage Wars Epidemic

Making Reuse Convenient

What is Your Impact from Reuse?

Pin It

13

Jun

Tradepal Announces New Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Make ReUse Convenient for College Students

image

This morning from the CGIAmerica in Chicago, Tradepal announced it is committed to implementing its student to student ReUse marketplace technology for 100 colleges across the U.S. The goal is to make ReUse convenient for college students and encourage a more sustainable consumer behavior. These networks are expected to save 20,000 metric tons of carbon emissions by June 2014. The environmental benefit resulting from this commitment is equivalent to removing 15,000 passenger cars from circulation. 

“Today’s announcement builds on President Bill Clinton’s decades of leadership in strengthening America’s economy and communities,” said Karim Guessous, founder and CEO of Tradepal. “We are excited to provide and scale an actionable market-based solution to further America’s sustainability goals.” 

College students are constantly looking for ways to save or make money by reusing textbooks, electronics, furniture, sports equipment, among others. They are frustrated with the existing fragmented marketplaces, the lack of trust, the amount of time it takes to list an item, to complete a transaction, payments and shipping.

Tradepal’s technology platform allows both buyers and sellers to meet their needs on campus. It offers a far more compelling value proposition than existing marketplaces or classifieds sites for the following reasons:

  • It is a trusted social network: students use their real identity
  • It takes no more than 30 seconds to list an item
  • Students buy and sell, but can also barter, leveraging their listings as currency
  •  It gamifies sustainability by quantifying the environmental impact or ReUse in terms of carbon savings

At the third annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGIAmerica) gathering held on June 13-14 in Chicago, Tradepal will join over 1,000 high-level participants including leaders from government, business, foundations and NGO’s to develop innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.The mission of the CGI is to turn ideas into action, and Tradepal founder and CEO, Karim Guessous, will discuss how Tradepal’s Commitment to Action could be scaled further at the Breakout Session: “Scalable Ideas: Commitments with Growth Potential” on Friday, June 14 at 11:15 A.M. CST. 

See Also:

Sustainability vs. Storage Wars Epidemic

Climate Change: What is Real, Happening and Expected

Tradepal Announces New Clinton Global Initiative to Make Reuse Convenient for College Students

Pin It